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Anybody ever think about...

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Cucco, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Opening a recording studio in a mall?

    It sounds like a crazy idea, but around here, mall real estate is about as cheap as any other commercial real estate.

    You'd generate an a$$load of foot traffic and visibility (not to mention, our particular mall has a Guitar Center in it).

    During "normal" business hours (think teenie-bopper hours - so, 4-9PM) you could record Daddy's little princesses singing over karaoke tracks of their favorite Pop princesses in the front of the store (think a Mackie mixer, a CD player and a 2 track CD burner) all the while, in the back of the store, have a legitimate recording studio...

    It's just a thought...I don't personally have the balls to do it myself here...just curious if anyone else has.
  2. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    I've had some similar thoughts...not in a mall, but the karaoke thing. My wife used to host karaoke at a place in her home town - that spurred thought of recording karaoke anyways...
  3. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I do my best singing on karaoke night, just ask me!

    Live karaoke recording cd burning in a bar, now that would be wild as heck ;)
  4. yeah it could work, all you would need to do is make sure that its all sound proffed etc, which may create a high start up cost, also would have to look at laws on recording minors i dont know if there is a law, but say a 11 kid walked in and wanted to record could you do that with out the parents consent, etc....
  5. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Usually I only feel the need to quote this when I walk past people staking shelves at my local supermarket under the worst florescent light and with the worst music playing over tinny speakers...

    "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time."

    A girl working in a tanning salon that had shop frontage looking into an underground car park saw me mouth those words. And you would too from the desk inside your karaoke recording studio if I walked past.

    That being said, if you have mouths to feed...
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    There's a lot of potential for good singers to be "found" like this.

    If you marketed it properly with an emphasis on groups (like recording 4 people for one track)...how many people are going to bring a group and sing along to "Now That's What [The Entertainment Industry] Calls Music!"

    You'd be looking at a fairly big setup though, if you want a whole studio in the back. Maybe a main vocal booth, a karaoke room, a main room and then a shop front. The karaoke room would have a glass wall so you could see in from reception...
    I have too much of this planned.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'm with you...
    Every time I go into our local mall and see the shop *right next to* the Guitar Center sitting vacant, my mind races with ideas...

    I don't think it would actually be that much of a start up cost - no more than retro-fitting any other existing structure into a recording studio. I suppose it could be done VERY easily within a $20K budget...

    I thought of the idea first when I saw something similar at a local amusement park (King's Dominion). They record kids with a green screen behind them and put all sorts of music-video-esque things behind them while they sing along with Britney and other no-talent hacks.

    I imagine they would have more of a legal issue on their hands...just imagine what could be done if a raw green screen footage were to be released of teenagers singing... :-O
  8. haha true..
    it could work, got the unqiue factor and def an edge on other people..
    suppose no reason why someones studio cant be in a mall compare to in a basment or where ever you want a studio to be..
    at least they can go shopping while they waiting for the track to be mixed down lol.
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    If I was older, richer and had a bit more cred in the business world, I'd go do this right now. Seriously. However...

    Actually I thought of a problem - isolation (obviously it's not gonna be a major one)? You're gonna get a lot of noise from shoppers.

    What would you call it?
    Store Recordings?
  10. Greener

    Greener Guest

    A Room Without A View Productions?
  11. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I would say probably not. Not if you want the kid to sign any kind of confidentiality agreement or if you want to maintain any kind of rights in regards to mechanical or if say he needed back up instrumentation. Maybe if it were merely a Karaoke recording(which is a available in one of the malls here), it would be ok. But if we're talking originals, it could be an issue.
  12. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    This is the case with any studio - mall or otherwise.

    When a minor comes in to do anything (rare - usually violinists/etc. for taped auditions) we have the parents present and sign.

    For a "mall" situation - it would be a Karaoke kind of thing only. If they want to book real studio time...bring the parents.

    Regarding isolation -
    It would be far less of a problem than you'd think. Shopping malls in the US are built quite well with significant isolation from one store to the next (fear of a fire spreading and getting out of hand in a crowded, large environment.)

    Many of the stores in the local mall have a solid front (usually glass but some other materials as well.) I'm certain one could build an isolating wall of glass, then perhaps a small waiting area/lobby/information/viewing area and then the studio. This would actually be quite easy and cost less than about $500.

    Bear in mind, the goal of the front-facing studio wouldn't be perfect isolation and EXTREME quality -
    it would be for daddy's princesses or some punk to come lay down his/her voice over bad backing tracks...to pay the rent so to say. (Oh...and have a local GC flunky man the recording up front - pay him/her $8 an hour and crank them out all day... Kids pay $25 a track to lay their voices down - pitch corrected all to hell...you could squeeze in 6 or so an hour.)
  13. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    So, if you did 60 kids a day at $25 a pop, that's only $1500 gross per day.

    When you start adding up your investment and operating costs, that's not a lot of money. And that's assuming that you will have 6 kids an hour for 10 hours each day. Maybe in the right market, but I doubt you could fly it in this city of 1 million.

    I suppose people make a living with a lot less though. Like the GC guy that you will hire. And, if you like recording bad singers in front of bad muzak for a living it would not be so bad.
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well...you're making a few assumptions here.

    If we're assuming we're talking about me and my studio doing this:
    1 - I already clear a pretty decent amount on top of this already (quite into the black for the past several years)
    2 - Our population is far greater than 1 million. The city of Fredericksburg and counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania and King George (the areas serviced by this mall - not to mention Caroline county and Prince William county (PW county is huge BTW)) is over 3 million.

    Also, I wouldn't be the one recording the kids so I could care less about listening to the music. I'm talking about a "front business" - the purpose of which would be to "pay the rent" on the facility solely. This being done, the remainder of the studio could operate in the black at all times with no worries of sustainment.

    BTW - $1500 gross daily is a LOT of money for a "project" studio. Even if it only cleared $200 a day during the week and $1000 a day on the weekends, I could pay the kids' wages (button pushers), keep the lights on, maintain all equipment (computers, phones, internet, utilities, etc.), pay the rent and still pocket a bit. (And throw a nice Xmas party for the GC dropouts.)
  15. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest


    this actully was done quite a few years (maybe even a couple of decades) ago in a mall in Indianapolis. It offered prerecorded tracks of Top 40 songs. Kind of a precursor to karaoke.

    It lasted about 18 mos, IIRC.
  16. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Which mall??

    I used to live in Indianapolis (Castleton) - walking distance from Castleton Square Mall (back in the early to mid 80s.) It seems to me that this is more of a desire in today's society though as it seems EVERYONE wants to be a superstar...
  17. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member


    It might work, but is it just an add-on to your business or does it help you in other ways? The problem I see with it as an expansion for a studio like yours is that you have probably raised your monthly overhead costs by a lot. It's tempting because you can keep the startup costs low (given your existing investments), but I'm not sure it really helps you in any other way. You are simply expanding into an area that doesn't seem to have really low margins.

    On the other hand, I think you are aiming at the right crowd. Problem is that Mom and Dad may spend $100 buck with you and then walk over to GC and plunk down $5000. (Especially if your teenagers areHow are you going to get some of that $5000 in your pocket? No question that that is where the money is - but how do you get it?
  18. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Cucco wrote:

    No kidding?! I lived in Lawrence. I bet you used to frequent IRC alot back then.

    I honestly don't remember for sure if it was in Indy or Columbus, OH where I moved to in '88. Or it might have been somewhere I saw it while on the road. My memories from 1970 - 1990 are somewhat muddled, if ya know what I mean. but I definately didn't dream it... at least I don't think so... sometimes it hard to tell the difference... anyone seen my meds?
  19. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    it could be my memory too.
    after all, when I lived there, I was a bit younger. If it didn't have boobs or explode, I wasn't interested in it...
  20. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Exploding boobs...now that is a night not to be forgotten!!!

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